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Tapestry

Time For Observations


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Here I am again - worrying as usual!! We are into our 3rd week of new playgroup and there are just the 2 of us paid members of staff - myself and my deputy. We do have a volunteer committee member who is not involved in planning or obs etc. So this is what we do at present.

 

I start at 8.30 am, my deputy at 9 and the children come in at 9.15. So that gives me time to get the water tray filled, paint in the pots, toilets checked for cleanliness (others use the hall premises after we are gone) and new toilet rolls, paper towels etc put out, snack trolley set up and jug with cups for drinking water set out in the playroom, organise the activities we do towards the end of the session as well as getting my attendance register ready, camera ready and sticky labels for obs. After children leave at 11.45 am the 3 of us clean up - brushing floor, emptying the water tray, covering and/or washing paint pots and brushes, washing dishes and tables as well as all toilets and handbasins etc, emptying bins and ensuring art work is either displayed or put in childs pocket for the following day. This usually takes us up to 12.15 and as we don't have the opportunity to take anything to eat or drink during session we take 15 mins but we do talk about the activities and children and/or spontaneous planning as dictated by the children. We then have half an hour for obs and this is where we are having difficulty at the moment.

 

We each have 3 children to observe and are trying to focus on 3 areas of learning - Personal social and emotional, communication and language and physical as these are pre-pre school children we are working with.

 

We struggle to get obs finished (who doesn't?) but cannot really see how to fit things in. Anyone any suggestions? We usually change our weekly plan on a Thursday as Friday is taken up with more cleaning - we would usually mop out the floor and hoover the carpet area as well as change resources over. Should we be cutting our own eating time? Perhaps we are overly concerned about the number of obs we are doing? Any advice would be appreciated.

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I'm not sure I'm understanding correctly. We do observations during the session, mainly snapshot obs, and plan a focussed observation per child per term, or as needed really. We sometimes have photographs to go with some of the observations as well. The obs are just filed for each child at the end of the session, and are then put in learning journeys and linked to dev matters statements when the key person has time.

 

Are you having problems finding time to deal with the observations created during the sessions? If so, we are too so I sympathise! Staff are doing a lot in their own time, but I'm battling the committee for some extra paid time for this.

 

I think you really need to hang on to your 15 minute lunch break if possible. It's not long, but may just be enough to re-charge your batteries a bit before the next session starts.

 

Good luck!

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terrydoo you've only been open three weeks i suspect most of your time is spent with the children trying to bond with them and getting to know them. Dont try to run before you can walk!! xD you will be observing all the time and assessing what the childrens capabilities and needs are. What sort of obs are you doing? i think you might be trying to make life complicated here a post it pad is my saviour ...always wear clothes with pockets! just jot down as you go they dont have to be perfectly written you might just write johnny built tower which will be enough for you to add on to later if you need. Time management is the most difficult thing in this job sometimes. Im sure you want it all to be perfect from the beginning but i can tell you now it will never happen there is always more paperwork than you have time for. (ive been doing this for 12 years i have never come to the end of my list!) try to relax and enjoy or you'll be so stressed the children will notice! :o

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Remember you only need to observe wow moments! If you do not know the children that well yet, go back to the All About Me form that you complete with parents at the beginning - where are the gaps? Can you get more info from parents so that you know what you are looking for?

 

Once you get to know the children better you will be attuned for what is new and interesting. Also you can recognise observations that tick off loads of aspects at once!

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